(Photo courtesy of The Daily Herald)
A third location of Naperville Running Company is set to open early January in Wheaton, and although the name may throw some off, owner Kris Hartner saw keeping a consistent brand as more important than being accurate.
“My main goal is to have this business stay locally owned and operated for the long haul,” Hartner says. “Giving customers immediate satisfaction and convince is important, and we figured out a way to grow on that and make customers happy.”
Hartner says he’s been wanting to do this for a long time; the first store opened in 2000 in downtown Naperville, and then his team decided to take a leap in February 2014 to open the second in south Naperville. The second location has been very successful, and Hartner feels it added a complexity to the business.
When he noticed a trend of other local running stores closing, Hartner wanted to take that as an opportunity to grow his; with an already large customer base in Wheaton, and an opening in a popular downtown location, it was the perfect opportunity.
The new store will be located at 102 W. Front Street, which is the former location of a yogurt shop. The location is right by the Illinois Prairie Path, Wheaton College and other popular spots that Hartner is confident it will get a lot of business.
“It’s very busy downtown, and the community has been super excited about us coming,” he explains. “It’s actually one of the coolest buildings in the downtown area.”
Despite previous companies struggling in this location, Hartner is confident that the NRC reputation will hold up. Plus, he thinks that the Wheaton community is in need for this type of store.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for our company,” he adds. “I’m excited for the challenge because others haven’t worked there, and the market is kind of down for running stores, but I think we can do a good job.”
If this store does as well as the first two, a fourth location may be in the future, Hartner says. He feels he has put together an amazing staff, and wants to provide them with a long-term career, which is part of his expansion strategy.
Naperville Running Company is known for its wide selection in athletic apparel, and also hosts several events to be involved in the running community, including weekly run groups. For more updates about the opening, visit NRC’s website.